Area unemployment continues to drop

By Ryan Cornell

Either fewer people are out of jobs or more of them have just stopped looking, the latest figures released from the Virginia Employment Commission seem to show.

The release states that the commonwealth’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percent to 5.2 percent in December, which is 0.4 percent lower than December 2012.

The release states: “After remaining unchanged in October, the drop in the unemployment rate in November and December continued the downward movement that began in September. As a result, the unemployment rate dropped to the April 2013 low of 5.2 percent.”

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates also fell in Shenandoah County by 1.2 percent, Warren County by 0.8 percent and Frederick County by 0.8 percent from December 2012 to December 2013.

Each county’s school board remains the largest employer in that county.

Although unemployment is on the decline, Senior Economist Ann Lang said that Virginia’s employment growth has been close to negligible.

“The growth has been eight-tenths of a percent, which has been modest, but some areas exceed the state growth rate,” she said.

One region that has exceeded that growth is the Winchester metropolitan area, which added 1,500 jobs over the course of the year and increased its workforce by 2.6 percent. This percentage gain was among the largest recorded in Virginia.

Lang said January’s unemployment numbers will be released in mid-March.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com